Since Donald Brought Election Rigging Up: It Was

In light of some of the ongoing narratives about the 2016 election, it has dawned on me that what Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and many of their die-hard fans have in common with MRAs appears to be an entitled sense that if the system isn't rigged for them, then it's rigged against them.

The system I'm talking about is our basic electoral process.

Take Bernie and the infamous, still-circulating claim that the all-powerful Democratic National Committee (DNC) "rigged" the Democratic Primary against him. How this "rigging" tangibly led to Hillary Clinton defeating Sanders by more than 3 million votes is rarely specified.  But, Aphra Behn has addressed this nonsensical claim in depth already. The summary is that the most controversial of the stolen DNC emails allegedly "showing" this "rigging" were dated after it became mathematically impossible for Bernie to win.  (Nevertheless, the mainstream media persists in repeating this claim or letting it go unchallenged).

In practice, the Evil DNC Rigging narrative really only "works" by erasing the millions of ordinary people, many of them Black women, who sincerely and enthusiastically supported Clinton and pretending that if not for the fantastical DNC Rigging, significantly more would have voted for Bernie Sanders instead.

Then, of course, we have Donald, who repeatedly claimed during the lead-up to November 8th, that "Crooked Hillary" was "rigging" the election against him. He offered no evidence, but he didn't really have to. The general public already believed both he and Bernie were more honest than Hillary Clinton even though analyses showed that she was the most honest of the three. If Donald, who was a "truth-teller," made a claim against Crooked Hillary, why wouldn't many people believe it?

My rhetorical question speaks to the fact that the election was rigged.

Yes, it was rigged by prevailing norms of misogyny, although bias can be difficult to measure and difficult for many people to accept as a thing that actually exists in the world.

But also, what was it, if not rigging, that led to emails detrimental only to Hillary Clinton's campaign having been stolen, leaked, and continually reported on? How might have voter perceptions changed, for instance, about who was and wasn't evil, cheating, or dishonest had private emails from Trump's and Sanders' campaigns been stolen, leaked, and reported on incessantly?

In addition, we now know that the US Intelligence Community (PDF) believes that the Russian Government sought to "undermine faith in the US democratic process" and harm Hillary Clinton's electability via these leaked and stolen emails. With the benefit of hindsight, doesn't it seem that the election was instead rigged for Donald?

Moving to our current state of sad affairs, I've seen repeated scoldings for people on social media to stop "re-litigating the primaries." Well, telling people to just get over something, while acting so above the fray, isn't usually a good strategy for helping people who are upset get over things.

During the 2016 election, both Sanders and Trump supporters capitalized on the one-sided nature of the leaked emails to the detriment of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Many people continue to believe, or at least insist on social media, that Hillary didn't legitimately win the Democratic Primary. Donald Trump even tweeted about it over the weekend, in June 2017, because he knows this claim sows discord among the left. It's possible that Russian troll-bots are still intentionally stirring this pot.

Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, is Outreach Chair for the Democratic Party, even as he goes around the country demeaning the "failing" Democractic Party model. 

(Which, itself, seems like a failing Democratic Party model, but WHO AM I TO JUDGE?)

I contend that the divisions among the left are real, deep, and pre-date the 2016 primary. They won't go away simply by giving the "leaders" of different factions honorary positions within the Democratic Party, while leaving the underlying problems unaddressed. The facts on the ground are that, to many Hillary supporters, Bernie Sanders will remain a polarizing figure, in part because he has yet to adequately address, let alone counter, the circulating claim that Hillary Clinton cheated when she beat him.

In May 2016, for instance, in response to Trump's claim that the Democratic Primary was "rigged" against Bernie, Bernie gave a weak sauce retort that while he wouldn't use the word "rigged," the process was "dumb."


Apparently, it was "dumb" that the process had pre-existing rules, rules that Bernie ostensibly knew about before he decided to run. Something something establishment. Don't you hate how systems consistently fail, and are rigged against, white men. I'm so glad we nipped that oppression in the bud before anything bad happened, like letting a woman be president.

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